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Dear Dale:

Moisture Takes the Easy Way Out

September 21, 1986|Dale Baldwin

Question: We have a stall shower, tiled 6 feet high with plaster above. It has a solid 2-by-3-foot solid-glass window on the outside wall. Each year I have to paint the wood siding surrounding the window, because the paint blisters, bubbles, etc. There was a one-foot-square opening in the ceiling of the shower that I plastered over, but this did not solve the problem.

What causes the outside paint to blister? Is it condensation?

Answer: The moisture from that hot shower has to go someplace, and--especially now that you've plastered over the opening in the ceiling--it just has no place to go except through the window. Also, having the "solid" window, which I assume means a window that doesn't open, further complicates matters because you're no doubt getting condensation on the window where the warm air on the inside meets the colder air on the outside.

In all probability, the hole in the ceiling was an earlier effort to ventilate the shower area and prevent the very problem you're talking about. That effort failed, evidently, because you had the problem even before you plugged the hole.

Your best bet might be to install an overhead fan to draw out the moisture. Then check to see where the moisture will go that's drawn by the fan. It might require a vent to the outside in the area of or above the ceiling.

Before re-painting the window frame, remove all the old paint and apply about three applications of a half-and-half mixture of linseed oil and paint thinner, a good primer and a good exterior paint.

Q: We have a very nice patio and a rather large backyard that is surrounded by a chain-link fence. The fence does a good job of keeping our dog in, but it doesn't provide any privacy.

When we entertain in our backyard at the same time our neighbors have an outdoor party, it's like one big celebration, with lots of chit-chat over the fence. I'd like some privacy, but I don't want to totally fence the neighbors out of my life. Actually we like each other, and we feel it's a safeguard against burglars to have the backs of our houses exposed to each other. Do you have some suggestions for achieving privacy without a stone wall fence?

A: Sounds as if you're a prime candidate for a latticework screen that would afford some privacy, at least enough to cut out the chit-chat, yet it won't appear to be a solid barrier. At a recent home-improvement show at the Los Angeles Convention Center, J.R. Enterprises exhibited a variety of redwood gazebos in connection with a large selection of spas.

In the firm's brochure, they show what is called a sunscreen. It comes in two sizes: 4-by-12 feet or 5-by-15 feet. It's constructed of modular panels of kiln-dried redwood that, they claim, can be assembled by two people within two hours.

You might write for information: J.R. Enterprises, P.O. Box 160874, Sacramento 95816. For readers in the San Diego area, you might contact San Marcos Wood Products, 1320 Grand Ave., Unit 22, San Marcos 92069.

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